New Year’s resolutions are often like champagne: bright and bubbly at first but completely flat before long. As you make your own resolutions for next year, consider these four books, which are worth toasting for their practical solutions to common resolutions.


If your resolution is to:

...Eat Better
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Read: The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook: A New, Healthier Way to Cook Everything from America’s Most Trusted Test Kitchen (America’s Test Kitchen, $35)

If there were a Nobel Prize for food science, Christopher Kimball and the staff at America’s Test Kitchen would clinch it. ATK’s 40 chefs test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes even 70 times in search of perfection. Their new cookbook focuses not on dieting but on healthful eating — choosing wiser ingredients and preparation styles without sacrificing flavor. The 800 recipes range from kid-friendly baked chicken fingers to a mouthwatering wild mushroom ragout. Dozens of ingredient primers (“Getting to Know: Tofu”), product recommendations (best chicken broth) and step-by-step photo instructions serve as a kitchen confidential and a confidence booster to chefs aspiring to eat and cook better in the new year.






...Stop Smoking
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Read: Kicking Butts: Quit Smoking and Take Charge of Your Health by the American Cancer Society (American Cancer Society, $9)

Having devoted nearly 100 years to cancer research, the American Cancer Society knows a few things about the health risks of smoking. Rather than lecture, Kicking Butts serves as a pep talk as well as a practical guide to the psychological and physical hurdles that trip up many smokers. This new second edition includes an updated chart comparing the latest stop-smoking medications as well as a resource guide with a dozen bookmark-worthy websites. Kicking Butts may just be the kick in the butt you’ll need to become one of the million people who will quit smoking in 2011.






...Get organized
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Read: Unstuff Your Life! Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good by Andrew J. Mellen (Avery, $16)

Do you play hide-and-seek with your car keys? Have the hundreds of e-mails in your inbox formed their own Facebook group? Andrew J. Mellen, who’s been called the most organized man in America, can help. His tough-love approach distinguishes sentimentality from significance and focuses on two key principles: one home for everything, and grouping likes with likes. Mellen proves it’s possible for everyone — not just his celebrity clients — to free up not only valuable space but also precious time in their hectic lives.






...Save Money
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Read: The Wall Street Journal Guide to the New Rules of Personal Finance by Dave Kansas (Harper Paperbacks, $17). Available Dec. 28.

Many investors feel helpless, like their portfolios have been swiped for a joyride and crashed into a red sea. Financial writer Dave Kansas puts you back behind the wheel in 2011 with this accessible, practical driver’s manual. The subtitle states it perfectly: “The Essential Strategies for Saving, Investing, and Building a Portfolio in a World Turned Upside Down.” Each chapter opens by debunking some old rules (“Your house is a ticket to riches”), then closes with to-dos and suggested-reading lists. The last chapter, “New Rules, Old Values,” recaps the book’s crucial takeaway messages — great parting words as investors bid the old year, and their old habits, farewell.